Monday, January 18, 2021

UK: In defence of a lockdown critic

The witch-hunting of Karol Sikora is a new low for the dogmatists of the lockdown cult.

It isn’t only Covid-19 that is mutating. So is cancel culture. This nasty strain of censorship is spreading, intensifying, becoming ever-more poisonous and harmful to the body politic. The more coronavirus spreads, the more the virus of cancellation spreads too, with packs of censors and neo-Stalinists now demanding the silencing and punishment of anybody who deviates even slightly from the consensus on Covid-19. Just consider the current efforts to destroy the reputation of Karol Sikora.

Professor Sikora is the cancer expert who has been questioning the Covid consensus for the past few months. He has queried the need for harsh lockdowns and kicked up a necessary fuss over the NHS’s suspension of various forms of medical treatment, including for cancer. In the fog of fear about Covid-19, Sikora has shone a light of hope. We’ll get through it, he says. Don’t live in dread, he counsels. Let normal life, and normal medical treatment, continue as much as possible, he’s advised. Has he always been right? Of course not. Show me the man who has. He suggested there wouldn’t be a second wave. In May he said that, come August, things will be ‘virtually back to normal’. That was wrong. String him up! Get out your rotten tomatoes. Pelt this speechcriminal who made a prediction that was not correct.

For the supposed crime of not being entirely right about the course coronavirus would take, Professor Sikora is now public enemy No1 in the eyes of the lockdown fanatics. Leading the mob, as is so often the case these days, is Guardian columnist Owen Jones. From the very start of the Covid crisis, Mr Jones, like many other privileged millennial leftists, has relished the authoritarianism of the lockdown. In March he expressed delight at being ‘placed under house arrest along with millions of people under a police state by a right-wing Tory government’. Yes, if you are well-off, middle class, capable of working from home and cancer-free, lockdown was probably a riot. For other people, however, it wasn’t. Professor Sikora’s chief sin was to express this truth – to say that lockdown will exact a wicked toll on many people – and now privileged beneficiaries of lockdown like Mr Jones are out to destroy him for it.

Jones’ complaint about Sikora is that he has been wrong about some things and he has criticised the policy of lockdown. He takes aim at Sikora’s proposal that instead of locking down the entire population, we should pursue shielding measures for certain sections of the population – ‘the old and vulnerable’. He mocks Sikora for being too chirpy. ‘The Positive Professor.’ Optimism is a crime in the land of the misanthropes. But most notably, letting slip his illiberal tendencies, Jones doesn’t merely criticise Sikora – that would be fine; everyone must have the right to criticise everybody else. No, he also suggests that Sikora should be denied the oxygen of publicity. The media outlets who give Sikora a platform should be ashamed of themselves, he says. They are ‘helping to spread disinformation’ and that is dangerous during a pandemic.

In short, dissent kills. Criticism of consensus is not only wrong, it is potentially lethal – it threatens to pollute men’s souls and encourage people to take reckless risks that could literally sicken them. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it has been the cry of every censor in history, from Torquemada to Joe McCarthy to the blue-haired posh kids running riot on campuses in the Anglosphere right now – ‘words are not only wrong sometimes, they are also dangerous and murderous’, all these people have crowed. Now the same is being said about Sikora and other dissenters from the lockdown consensus. Jones’ column is a new low, even for him. It is a shrill, vindictive and transparent effort to achieve the expulsion from media life of a man who has dared to say we need more balance in our approach to Covid-19.

Jones is not alone in the war on Sikora. The right-wing authoritarian Sam Bowman has branded Sikora and other sceptics, including Sunetra Gupta, a professor of epidemiology at Oxford University who supports the Great Barrington Declaration, as ‘cranks’. Bowman, senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, detests these people’s suggestion that we should try to shield vulnerable people in the name of preserving liberty. He is far more keen on China’s approach to Covid, which, let’s not forget, involved literally locking people in their homes and silencing sceptical doctors. Who predicted that in 2020 the ASI would shill for Chinese communist dictatorship? Elsewhere, Sikora has been censured by YouTube and is regularly subjected to insults and accusations that he is killing people.

We are now in full-on witch-hunt territory. Sikora, Gupta, Carl Heneghan, also of Oxford, and others are now routinely demonised. They must be silenced, the illiberal fanatics cry. The witch-hunters have helped to unleash hysterical abuse against sceptics. Gupta says she regularly receives emails calling her evil and dangerous. She has even wondered: ‘Would I have been treated like this if I were a white man?’ Of course, identitarians who normally stand up for women from ethnic minorities who are being trolled and harassed have nothing whatsoever to say about the war of words against Gupta, because to them she is scum. Well, she’s critical of the lockdown, so she must be, right?

This is the chilling climate that the lockdown dogmatists have helped to create: one in which it is now tantamount to a speechcrime to raise a peep of criticism of the strategy of lockdown. Big Tech will censure you, mobs will hound you, neo-Stalinists will demand that you be added to a blacklist – for make no mistake, that is what the likes of Jones are essentially calling for when they suggest Sikora and others should not be ‘platformed’. A climate of McCarthyite vengeance is whooshing around the Covid crisis, making the lockdown even more authoritarian than it already was – now it isn’t only our daily lives that are being locked down; so are our minds and our thoughts.

There are two things to say about this. The first is simply to marvel at the gall of commentators who brand a celebrated oncologist like Sikora as ‘dangerous’. Sikora has been wrong during the lockdown – so has everybody – but it seems unquestionable to me that he did far more good in 2020 than his commentariat critics did. He kept the pressure on the NHS to go back to treating things other than Covid. He constantly drew attention to the looming cancer crisis. He offered cancer sufferers advice. And he cut through the misanthropic doom of the lockdown cult by saying we will get through this crisis one day. His voice has been far more refreshing, and fundamentally honest, than the 24-hour rolling-news of horror and hysterical fearmongering that has intensified people’s sense of despair and atomisation.

And secondly, even more importantly, there’s the small matter of freedom of speech. Of freedom of conscience. These things don’t become less important when society faces a significant challenge like Covid-19 – they become more important. Dissent is always good; but in an era of unprecedented authoritarianism it becomes essential. When officialdom assumes control over every aspect of our lives – our social lives, our family lives, whether we can go to work, even whether we can leave the house – then it is absolutely right to question things, constantly, unflinchingly. No one should ever feel comfortable with the suspension of freedom. They should be talking about it and challenging it every hour of every day. Whether their challenges are ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ is not the most important thing here – the most important thing is that we maintain a culture of criticism in response to the most extraordinary climate of authoritarianism any of us has ever experienced.

Dogma is the enemy of progress. Dissent – however irritating the police, the government and the Guardian might find it – is the guarantor of progress. It is the means through which all of us, including society more broadly, entertain the possibility that we are wrong. That lockdown is a mistake, that giving teenagers puberty-blockers is an error, that the Earth is not in fact at the centre of the solar system. Dogma protects even immoral policies and incorrect thinking from criticism by demonising dissenters; dissent, on the other hand, helps to shine a light on the wrongness of certain political strategies or ideological beliefs by encouraging criticism and scrutiny. Even where dissenters are wrong, factually, the climate they help to create is of enormous benefit to society and to mankind.

We must defend freedom of speech in this crisis. Our lives are locked down – and many people accept that as a temporary measure – but our minds should never be locked down. Free thought and free speech are the great guards – our only guards, in fact – against the ossification of public debate and the creation of new, potentially damaging orthodoxies and policies. If we allow free thinking to die alongside the economy, millions of people’s jobs and those cancer patients who were neglected for months on end, then society will be the poorer for a very, very long time. So carry on, Positive Professor. Dissent is now the duty of every individual who wants to ensure that freedom is still breathing when this cursed lockdown is lifted.


Donald Trump leaves office on all-time low approval rating - but Republicans do NOT blame him for MAGA riot or accept Joe Biden as legitimate, new polls reveal

Two polls Sunday showed Donald Trump leaving office on his lowest approval ratings from Americans but still with the overwhelming backing of his base for his actions in the wake of the MAGA riot.

An SSRS poll for CNN put Trump's final approval rating at just 34%, the lowest of his presidency, and far behind Barack Obama's final rating of 60%.

But a separate Washington Post/ABC News poll showed how Republicans refuse to blame Trump for the MAGA riot which caused his second impeachment, and still back his claims that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president.

The polls show some of the task facing Biden in the attempt to 'unite America' which will be the theme of his inauguration - an event itself held under unprecedented security, with 25,000 armed National Guard members, razor wire round the Mall and the White House, and crowds banned entirely.

Trump's approval rating at the end of his single term put him in a minority of post-war presidents leaving office with approval under 40%.

Jimmy Carter left on 34%, Harry Truman had 32%, George W. Bush 31% and Nixon, in the polls before he resigned, 24%.

The CNN poll shows a mixed record for Trump on success versus failure.

A majority - 54% - say he was more of a success than a failure on the economy, but the numbers for race relations (34%), immigration (36%) and the coronavirus (36%) show how he could not capture support beyond his base.

But it is the Washington Post/ABC News results which show the grip he still has on Republican voters ahead of his second impeachment trial and Biden's inauguration.

It found overwhelming support for Trump among those who say they voted Republican.

Fifty seven per cent say that the party should follow his leadership when he leaves office, and 51% say that party leaders did not go far enough in attempts to overturn the election results.

The party's voters do not blame Trump for the MAGA riot for which he is being impeached, with 56% saying he was not to blame for the Capitol being stormed at all.

And 66% said that his overall conduct since the election had been 'responsible.'

Those findings put the party's supporters entirely out of step not just with Democrats but with majority opinion.

Just 27% of all voters think Republicans should follow Trump's leadership.

The findings underline the difficulties Republican senators face with Trump's impeachment trial.

Those who face primary elections in 2022 or 2024 would face angry Republican voters and even the possibility of Trump himself campaigning against him, making a vote to convict politically difficult.

But if they vote against conviction to survive a primary, at a general election they would face a Democratic rival determined to hang that voter around their necks as a mark of shame - and a general electorate to whom Trump is a pariah.

While Democratic voters favor Trump being convicted and banned from running for office again 89 to nine, Republicans oppose it 85 to 12. Among independents, it has 56% backing.

Similarly, Biden's legitimacy is a matter of deep partisan divide: 62% of voters overall and more than 90% of Democrats say his election was legitimate.

But Trump was so successful in sowing distrust in the election that among Republican voters, 70% say Biden did not win legitimately.

A similar question in the SSRS/CNN poll saw 58% of Republicans say there was 'solid evidence' that Biden's election win was fraudulent. And 75% of Republican respondents said that they had little confidence that elections reflect the will of the American people.

The possibility of Trump trying to pardon himself before he leaves office on Wednesday also divided opinion: 68% of all voters say he should not, but 59% of Republicans say he should.

A move to self-pardon would bring about a fresh constitutional crisis because it is unknown if it would be valid and many experts believe that new Biden Justice Department would be forced to prosecute him just to get a Supreme Court ruling on whether it is possible - then consider a constitutional amendment to explicitly rule it out if the justices say Trump was allowed to pardon himself.



What could possibly go wrong? "Squad" members elevated to key House committees (National Review)

South Carolina politico and unsuccessful Lindsay Graham challenger Jaime Harrison selected as Biden's DNC chairman (Politico)

AOC wants a government commission to (unconstitutionally) "rein in" media (PJ Media)

Macaulay Culkin supports erasing Trump cameo in "Home Alone 2" (Daily Wire)

Large study of UK healthcare workers suggests most people immune for at least five months after catching COVID for first time (Nature)

Mayo Clinic study: Antibody-rich plasma treatment reduced chance of COVID death by 25% (NY Post)

Federal prosecutors hit MS-13 "board of directors" with terror charges (NY Post)

Killing of Christians increased 60% in 2020, mostly due to Islamic violence in Nigeria

Record 21 million guns sold in 2020, up 60%; women and blacks top buyers (Examiner)

"Kill all Republicans": Amazon sells 204 items promoting violence and hate (NewsBusters)

The mobbing of a Portland bookstore reminds us why Fahrenheit 451 was written (FEE)

Memory refresher: A left-wing terrorist who bombed the Capitol building in 1983 was pardoned by Clinton and now fundraises for BLM (Not the Bee)

Policy: EU's new investment deal with China a blow to transatlantic alliance (Daily Signal)



Sunday, January 17, 2021

55 Americans Have Died Following COVID Vaccination, Norway Deaths Rise To 29

Amid increasing calls for suspension of the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, the situation in Norway has escalated significantly as the Scandi nation has now registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

As Bloomberg reports, this adds six to the number of known fatalities in Norway, and also lowers the age group thought to be affected from 80.

Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in a written response to Bloomberg on Saturday.

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said.

“Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Norway’s experience has prompted the country to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines may be too risky for the very old and terminally ill... the exact group that 'the science' shows are actually at risk from this virus.

Pfizer and BioNTech are working with the Norwegian regulator to investigate the deaths in Norway, Pfizer said in an e-mailed statement. The agency found that “the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations,” Pfizer said.

However, it's not just Norway as The Epoch Times' Zachary Stieber reports that fifty-five people in the United States have died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports submitted to a federal system.

Deaths have occurred among people receiving both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, according to the reports.

In some cases, patients died within days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

One man, a 66-year-old senior home resident in Colorado, was sleepy and stayed in bed a day after getting Moderna’s vaccine. Early the next morning, on Christmas Day, the resident “was observed in bed lying still, pale, eyes half open and foam coming from mouth and unresponsive,” the VAERS report states. “He was not breathing and with no pulse.”

In another case, a 93-year-old South Dakota man was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 4 around 11 a.m. About two hours later, he said he was tired and couldn’t continue with the physical therapy he was doing any longer. He was taken back to his room, where he said his legs felt heavy. Soon after, he stopped breathing. A nurse declared a do-not-resuscitate order.

In addition to the deaths, people have reported 96 life-threatening events following COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as 24 permanent disabilities, 225 hospitalizations, and 1,388 emergency room visits.

It's not just the old and frail, in Israel, which proudly lays claim to the greatest vaccination effort in the world (largest percentage of the population inoculated),

As RT reports, at least 13 Israelis have experienced facial paralysis after being administered the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, a month after the US Food and Drug Administration reported similar issues but said they weren’t linked to the jab.

Israeli outlet Ynet reported, citing the Health Ministry, that officials believe the number of such cases could be higher.

“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it [facial paralysis],” one person who had the side effect told Ynet. “I can't say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

Ynet quoted Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center, who said she did not feel “comfortable” with administering the second dose to someone who had received the first jab and subsequently suffered from paralysis.

“No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That's why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose,” she told the outlet.

Finally, as we noted yesterday following the news of rising post-vaccination deaths in Norway, health experts from Wuhan, China, called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people.

China's Global Times reports Chinese experts said the death incident should be assessed cautiously to understand whether the death was caused by vaccines or other preexisting conditions of these individuals.

Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Friday that the death incident, if proven to be caused by the vaccines, showed that the effect of the Pfizer vaccine and other mRNA vaccines is not as good as expected, as the main purpose of mRNA vaccines is to heal patients.

A Beijing-based immunologist, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Friday that the world should suspend the use of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine represented by Pfizer, as this new technology has not proven safety in large-scale use or in preventing any infectious diseases.

Older people, especially those over 80, should not be recommended to receive any COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

All of which is a problem since it is the elderly who are at most risk (quite frankly at any real risk at all) and thus who need the protection the most.

The Chinese health experts instead say that the most elderly and frail should be recommended to take medicines to improve their immune system.

Of course, one cannot help but note the irony of scientists from the source of the plague that has killed millions around the world and destroyed lives/economies almost everywhere, is now calling for the cessation of the process to protect against the plague


Anti-Tump Organizer Resigns After 'Inappropriate' Sexual Conversations With Young Men Revealed

Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver has resigned from the Democratic PAC after it was revealed he had “inappropriate” sexual conversations with young men. Dozens of young men have come forward in the last few days describing their relationship with Weaver, including the allegation that Weaver “groomed” the men by promising them lucrative career opportunities in exchange for sex.

The Lincoln Project was created by former John McCain staffers Steve Schmidt and Weaver for the express purpose of defeating Donald Trump for re-election. It began as a nominally Republican, “NeverTrump” group and has since become just another Democratic PAC.

Washington Free Beacon:

Weaver admitted to making the young men “uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations,” which included at least one instance in which Weaver allegedly emailed an unsolicited photo of his penis. However, he appeared to suggest the men accusing him of grooming them, or offering favors in exchange for sex, are lying, perhaps for nefarious reasons.

“While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations,” Weaver wrote in the statement, “I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me … are categorically false and outrageous.” The emergence of the allegations, Weaver suggested, was facilitated by political critics of the Lincoln Project.

So the young men were “uncomfortable” but the conversations were “consensual”? Sounds like wishful thinking on Weaver’s part.

The organization issued a statement saying simply that “John’s statement speaks for itself.” As the Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles points out, that sort of statement had a familiar ring to it.

It is precisely the sort of curt, deflective statement the Lincoln Project bros would attack Republican politicians for making in regard to Trump. Perhaps one day Weaver’s colleagues will be forced to confront their own complicity in enabling his behavior.

This story is not being widely reported on, although the sexual angle is quite juicy. A man with money and power approaches young men — we assume all were of the age of consent — and flatters them with sexy talk and hints of intimacy. Weaver claims the “grooming” part of the narrative is false, although it’s hard to believe Weaver would resist the temptation to use his position for sex. He certainly wasn’t shy about talking up his potential partners.

In case you missed it, Schmidt and another Lincoln project advisor appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and had wide ranging discussion about the riots and impeachment.

It’s funny that Joe Scarborough or any other MSNBC host never brought up the sexual misconduct allegations against the group’s founder.

Daily Caller:

Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” discussed riots and reconciliation with Schmidt during the television hit but did not bring up allegations of sexual misconduct which have been levied against Weaver, who formerly worked for former presidential candidate John McCain’s campaigns and on former Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign.

MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Kurt Bardella also appeared on the network Thursday without being questioned on the allegations against Weaver.

It can get tiresome pointing out media double standards and hypocrisy. But given how Weaver and Schmidt were lionized by the liberal press as having such incredible “courage” for going against Trump, you’d think that since the media made both men rich and influential, they might enjoy bringing them down a peg or two.

No such luck.


More doubts about the benefit of lockdowns

A peer-reviewed international study found lockdowns in the early months of the pandemic provided no significant benefit in slowing the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus when compared to voluntary measures like social distancing and travel reduction. The study, published in the Wiley Online Library, comes after several months of brutal lockdowns upended life and caused severe economic damage in the United States.

Given the harmful consequences of lockdowns, a group of Stanford researchers set out to assess the effects of lockdowns compared to less restrictive measures. The researchers compared data from 10 different countries, two of which did not implement lockdowns -- South Korea and Sweden -- and found "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [stay-at-home orders and business closures] on case growth in any country." The countries analyzed in the study include the U.S., England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

While the lockdowns had "no clear, significant" benefit on case growth, lockdowns do have clear and significant consequences. Suicides and drug overdoses are up, birth rates are down, and millions are out of work.

In October, Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's special envoy on Covid-19 said, "Lockdowns have one consequence that you must never ever belittle and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."

That same month, thousands of doctors and scientists signed the Great Barrington Declaration, calling on leaders to abandon lockdowns given the "physical and mental health impacts" accompanying such measures.

"The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice," the experts declared.

Still, Democrats defended the lockdowns and accused critics of being "anti-science." In return, some on the right accused Democrats of continuing the lockdowns in order to damage the economy and give Democrats an edge in the November elections. Some are now questioning the timing of Democrats who are suddenly calling for the lockdowns to end with just days to go before Joe Biden's inauguration.

New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reversed course and is now calling for businesses to reopen, as has Chicago Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Hopefully, history will properly remember which party clamored for more lockdowns and ignored all the warnings about the consequences. But libs control the history departments, so don't count on it.



Saturday, January 16, 2021

Young woman appears in court after allegedly obstructing police and breaching bail

What gives these people the right to disrupt other people's lives? There is no such right but you would never know that from the decisions of the courts

A refugees rights activist charged after a protest in Brisbane has been bailed following a night in custody. Emma Jade Dorge, 24, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with obstruct police and a breach of bail condition.

About a 100 protesters marched in the streets of Kangaroo Point yesterday blocking peak hour traffic as the Gabba Test finished.

The protest began about 5pm at the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel where scores of immigration detainees have been warehoused since last year. The protesters headed down Main St chanting “we won’t stop until we free the refugees”.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said there was no permit issued for the demonstration and it was “an unauthorised protest”.

Dorge was the only person charged following the incident.

Representing herself in court this morning Dorge indicated during a bail application that she was likely to plead not guilty to the charges.

If refused bail today she would spend months in custody for offences that are likely to only attract a fine if found guilty, she told the court.

“All of my alleged offences and history are for peaceful protesting. I don’t pose a risk to the community in being let out on bail,” she said.

Magistrate Annette Hennessy granted bail stating she did not consider Dorge an “unacceptable risk”in the community.

Australian 'excess' deaths lower than expected, despite coronavirus pandemic

Australia recorded fewer deaths than expected from medical conditions in 2020, despite being in the midst of a global pandemic.

So, what's behind the numbers. What type of deaths are we talking about?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released provisional mortality figures in December for deaths certified by doctors.

According to the ABS, "excess mortality" is the difference between the number of deaths in a period of time, and the expected number of deaths in that same period.

The ABS's December report showed there were 116,345 deaths registered by doctors between January 1 and October 27, 2020, compared with the 2015-19 average of 117,484.

Doctor-registered deaths include deaths associated with respiratory diseases, dementia and chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

"In 2020 when the initial wave of the pandemic hit, we had an increase in the number of deaths and the increase was sustained only for around a month," ABS health and mortality statistics director James Eynstone-Hinkins said.

"After that, what we've actually seen is a lower number of deaths through the winter months pretty much right the way through until October, which is the latest data that we have now.

"What we can see is that the causes that have the lowest numbers of deaths in comparison to previous years are mostly in the respiratory disease group so that can include chronic lower respiratory diseases, things like influenza and pneumonia.

"It certainly points to a lack of transmission perhaps of some normal infectious diseases during the winter months that may have contributed to a lower-than-expected number of deaths during that period."

The statistics do not include deaths referred to coroners, such as accidents, assaults and suicides, which Mr Eynstone-Hinks said usually accounted for about 10-15 per cent of deaths in Australia.

What happened with influenza?

Federal Health Department figures show that of the laboratory-confirmed influenza cases last year up to late November there were 37 deaths, a 50 per cent decrease from the five-year mean.

There were 21,266 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System in the year to the end of the 2020 influenza season, which was almost eight times fewer than the five-year average of 163,015.

Deakin University chair in epidemiology Catherine Bennett said Australia was heading into an early influenza season before COVID-19 arrived, but restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic slowed transmission not only of coronavirus, but also of other infectious diseases.

"Because we went early and hard with our restrictions, we not only prevented many COVID deaths — we did see 900 or so [COVID-related] deaths — but at the same time we prevented many more," Professor Bennett said.

"In the process, by bringing in an early vaccine for flu and just the effects of the restrictions, the isolation, the extra hygiene people were practising, we also reduced our flu deaths and other communicable, respiratory in particular, deaths really noticeably."

Without restrictions and physical distancing, Professor Bennett said Australia would have recorded similar numbers of influenza deaths to previous years, as well as "many more" COVID-19 deaths than the 900.

Is drilling in Lake Torrens the next Juukan Gorge?

Can a Premier who is also Minister for Aboriginal Affairs really refuse an inquiry sought by Indigenous people into his state’s native title organisations because he says he respects Aboriginal self-determination — yet then approve mining exploration in an area his own Aboriginal heritage body recommended against?

It’s a bob each way on self-determination and it’s at the heart of this month’s decision by South Australian Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Steven Marshall to grant Argonaut Resources subsidiary Kelaray permission to drill on the western shores of Lake Torrens, 450km north of Adelaide. It’s a decision some insist is potentially South Australia’s version of last year’s Juukan Gorge destruction by Rio Tinto in Western Australia.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the nation’s most experienced native title lawyers says: “In some ways Torrens is not directly comparable with Juukan because the destruction of the caves is far more damaging to traditional culture than exploratory drilling at Torrens. Yet, in another way, it is far worse. While it can be argued neither the WA government nor Rio Tinto properly understood the importance of Juukan ahead of the blasting, the Lake Torrens situation is the opposite. The Marshall government has approved drilling of a site even though it had extensive knowledge from the state’s Aboriginal Heritage Commission warning it of the potential destruction of sacred sites.”

The issue is divisive politically and for local people. ABC Online on September 28 reported comments from Kuyani woman Regina McKenzie, who said her people “had a deep connection with the lake”.

“The Kuyani were the law holders of what anthropologists would call the lake’s culture people,” McKenzie said.

Her brother, Malcolm “Tiger” McKenzie, completely disagrees. He is unequivocal that cultural issues need to be traded off to maximise economic benefits to local Indigenous people.

“There’s a lot of people, especially the Greens, that stop Aboriginal people advancing in this country. There are important cultural issues associated with the lake, but without mining how are we going to build the capacity of Aboriginal people to work and to contribute to this country?”

Tiger, 68, lives in the Aboriginal community of Davenport north of Adelaide. He believes concerns about a possible repeat of the Juukan Gorge disaster could be alleviated if people from the various tribal groups associated with the lake could sit down and negotiate with the company and state government.

“That’s what we blackfellas have got to do. Sit down and negotiate. We should not be saying no from the very beginning. Otherwise we are always going to have our arms out for a handout.”

For its part, Argonaut is treading warily; CEO Lindsay Owler, acknowledged by all sides as a thoughtful executive who has good relations with government and local Aboriginal communities, saw no benefit in going on the record for this story. Argonaut wants good relations with local Aboriginal people and is willing to pay royalties to any group that eventually secures native title.

Argonaut’s Kelaray sent a draft Native Title Agreement to the Kokatha in October 2019. A royalty framework agreement and proposed heritage arrangements were sent to the Adnyamathanha, including the Kuyani subgroup that may make its own claim for the area, and the Barngarla in late 2016. None of Argonaut’s draft agreements has been executed.

Professor Peter Sutton, anthropologist with the South Australian Museum, gave evidence in the Overlap case that the Kuyani had the strongest connection to the Lake Torrens area.

As in all things native title since the original Wik Ten Point plan devised by John Howard in 1998, negotiated local agreements are the best way forward. With that in mind, Koolmatrie hopes Marshall’s indication last year that he may be prepared to look at some form of parliamentary inquiry will proceed by mid-2021. Andrew Thomas says Marshall should “be meeting with the Kokatha law and culture committee regularly”.

The complexity of the anthropological evidence considered by Justice Mansfield suggests to reform group members that the path of legal action is not the best way forward for Aboriginal native title holders and those without title who nevertheless have legally recognised cultural connections with proposed mining sites.

In the Lake Torrens matter that process would be complicated by the state’s history of mining approvals in the area. A spokesman for the Premier said records indicated the first exploration hole at the lake was drilled in 1960 and 282 exploration licences had been granted over the area since the 1970s. As well, “previous Section 23 authorisations had been approved in 2010 and 2018 by the former Labor government”. The spokesman said any proposed mining would mean “a separate Section 23 authorisation would have to be sought by Kelaray”.

The Marshall government could lose a lot of political skin pleasing neither side, whatever the anthropological justifications for the Premier’s latest decision. An inquiry and a new, more co-operative approach could benefit miners and Aboriginal groups while minimising political damage. A good place to start might be splitting Marshall’s portfolio responsibilities. Many people spoken to for this story believe it is inappropriate that a Premier with power to override Aboriginal heritage recommendations is also Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

Nor is there much support for the opposition. The most recent drilling at Lake Torrens was approved three years ago by ALP minister for Aboriginal affairs Kyam Maher, who told ABC radio on Thursday he now believes Marshall’s decision went much further than his own. The present Aboriginal Heritage Act was introduced by Maher in 2016.

Greens upper house MLC and spokeswoman for Aboriginal affairs, Tammy Franks, said in response to Maher’s comments, “We rushed through the Aboriginal Heritage Act in the first place in 2016. It didn’t have the support of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement or the SA native title services at the time. We didn’t even wait for Law Society advice. It was rammed through the parliament and they got it wrong.

“I will be moving to open up the Aboriginal Heritage Act when parliament resumes in the first week of February. I would hope Labor would be willing to have a respectful conversation that actually listens to Aboriginal voices.”

This issue will only get politically hotter. Lake Torrens is not Juukan Gorge, but activists are keen to make it seem so.

Recovery gathers pace as nation heads back to work

CBD baristas, lunch bar operators, shop keepers and suppliers are geared up and raring to go. Monday in the third week in January traditionally signals a large-scale return to work after summer holidays. This year it is more significant. Many Australians will be stepping out of the shadows of COVID-19 and returning to the workplace for the first time in nine or 10 months. The conditions are auspicious. No new cases of community transmission were recorded on Friday. The US, Britain and Europe can only envy our position. Foot traffic in the Sydney CBD increased this week; Victoria will allow 50 per cent of private sector workers and 25 per cent of public servants on site from Monday. Are the latter more delicate?

Important decisions for employers and governments lie ahead on matters such as workplace rules about vaccinations. Employers, we have reported this week, are seeking clarity. The principle of choice is important. And Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt have made it clear that COVID vaccines will not be compulsory. At the same time, employers such as nursing home operators have long insisted that staff receive an annual flu shot. A sensible, co-operative approach in individual workplaces will help. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is being proactive. In a blueprint that has been well received by Treasury, the Health Department and other business groups, it is proposing that after the inoculation of the elderly, Indigenous Australians and frontline at-risk workers, that staff in manufacturing, international education and other major export sectors receive the vaccine in the second phase, ahead of the general population. Ensuring export supply chains do not become a source of infection and allowing international travel to restart as soon as possible would make sense.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox, who represents the nation’s larger employers, says governments will need to issue advice “so employers and employees know what their rights and obli­gations are’’. Fair enough. Vaccination programs will take months to complete; in the interim, social distancing and other precautions will remain vital. Practical decisions will be needed, at some stage, in regard to those who decline or postpone vaccinations because of pregnancy or medical conditions. Workplace layouts, working from home and masks will be part of the mix. Much will depend on Australians’ take-up rate for vaccines. Rolling out vaccines later than other countries is a positive; useful lessons will be learned from overseas experience.

As the nation opens up, we endorse Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ plan, to go to national cabinet on February 5 to allow international students to re-enter his state. It should be adopted nationally. COVID cases are negligible and the higher education sector faces crippling losses if overseas students are locked out in the first semester. Victoria, sensibly, wants a separate entry quota for overseas students, on top of the current quota for international arrivals. Australia’s success in suppressing COVID should be a comparative advantage in a competitive field, which is also Victoria’s largest export industry. Students, including some from China, Malaysia and Pakistan, are backing campaigns to return. They are ready to pay up and follow quarantine rules.

Mr Andrews should extend his thinking to scrapping Victoria’s Stasi-like domestic border regime. It is denying Victorians the chance to return to their own homes as dates for resuming work and school loom large. Out of more than 11,000 people who have applied for exemptions since January 1, about 8000 are yet to be processed. Such tardiness on a matter that is costing Victorians dearly is inexcusable. On Friday, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce accused the Andrews government of “hypocrisy’’ for denying Victorians the right to come home, with some basic precautions, while allowing in more than 1000 overseas tennis players. Provided it is staged safely, with restrictions for preventing the spread of coronavirus applied rigorously, we applaud the holding of the Australian Open and welcome its competitors. But Mr Joyce’s concern about Qantas and Jetstar being forced to cancel almost 3000 flights between Sydney and Melbourne, the nation’s busiest air corridor, with significant social and economic consequences, is valid. Victoria closed its border to NSW on January 1 in response to Sydney’s northern beaches cluster. The move was excessive then and is now out of all proportion with the risk of COVID transmission. As the broader national economy bounces into the new year from Monday, state leaders should be looking outwards to consider how they can safely promote economic recovery and mobility.




Friday, January 15, 2021

The True Oral History of January 6th, 2020. This is from a friend of ours who went to DC. Carol Ann🇺🇸

Hello Family & Friends,

It has been several days since January 6th, 2020. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that unless you have been living under a rock (lucky) that you have been inundated by a mainstream media bombardment of atrocities, terrorist acts and incredible displays of violence that happened in our Capitol at the direction of President Trump. For the past 4 days I have sat in the evening watching as the media portrays what happened in DC on January 6th as a likened act to 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing or the war of 1812. Well my friends, let me take this time to share with you the first hand oral history of that day.

Back in December, Trump sent out a tweet asking patriots to be present on the 6th for a “wild protest.” At the time of that tweet and in discussion with my wife and our closest friends we made the decision to be present in DC on January 6th. For we millennia’s we have lived through 9/11, endless wars, the great recession, the housing crisis and the idea of missing one more “once in a lifetime” event on the historic day where an illegitimate and fraudulent election would be certified sounded like another experience that would be best experienced first hand. For those who would like to delegitimize the crowd or dismiss the size of the event the pictures that have been attached to this email will paint the honest story. We were told at the event that there were roughly 2.5-3 million patriots in DC. For simplicity the photos have been arranged in order to follow along with this email.

Our Trip-

Tuesday was a travel day for our group, the day started picking up friends at the airport who had flown in from other areas of the country (AZ, TX) and making a beeline for DC. The next 10 hours were filled with every gas station we stopped at encountering other travelers with familiar flags, bumper stickers and hand drawn phrases on their vehicles with the same objective of attending the event. While these individuals were strangers they all shared the same passion and found validation in meeting more of the “silent majority” on their way to represent a president that had asked nothing of his people for 4 years. We arrived into Arlington, VA at 10:30 PM, all DC hotels had been booked by mid-December so we stayed outside of DC because of the price point and also the proximity to a highway if necessary. As you can see from the picture it looked like an agriculture convention was being held in the WRONG area. Lots of 4x4 Diesel trucks with our parking lot being represented by AZ, NV, TX, NE, WY, AR, WV, TN, SD, ND, WY, PA, OH. It seemed that everyone we spoke to that evening had the same look on his or her face, “We just drove 10+ hours straight.” We elected to run over to the Metro and purchase our Metro passes before the 6th. We had concerns that there could be lines or issues trying to purchase passes the day of. This would come in handy, as we were able to jump right on the metro the day of the event.

January 6th, 2020

By design the day started early for us, we had no plans to spend another night in DC and we wanted to leave the Capitol by 4pm at the latest. We awoke at 3:45 am and prepared for the day, the DC mayor was kind enough to make sure restaurants and public bathrooms were closed so that would lead to us needing to utilize backpacks to bring in a days worth of supplies for each of us. We had prepared by making sure each of us could carry enough water for ourselves while including nutrition bars to supplement food. Luckily multiple conservative events bussed in port-a-potties but this isn’t the county fair… this is 2.5-3 million people. I guess the old adage is correct, “It’s the thought that counts.” We arrived outside the Whitehouse Ellipse at 5:45 AM. A line of people that was already ¼ mile long had formed for those who wished to get in next to the stage where Trump would be speaking. The problem was that security was not letting attendants in who had backpacks and we were unwilling to part with them, so we quickly looked around and found a great spot with a bench next to a giant monitor, this would be basecamp. For the next 8 hours we would come to experience many emotions, continually find ourselves in awe of the moment while also being a part of many formative discussions about our country, the people who love it and why 3 million people, in 30 degree weather, felt the need to stand with their president. This crowd was a true melting pot, White, Latino, Asian, Indian, African American, the list could go on; the narrative that this event was somehow “white only” is beyond misleading. We were surrounded by flags from South Vietnam, Korea, and Japan all there to protest with us against the embolden face of tyranny; however, the most emotional point for myself came from the Chinese refugees. I cannot tell you how many there was just that there were many. These individuals carried pamphlets about the atrocities that are being carried out against their fellow countryman and families still under the rule of the CCP. Why I say that this was emotional was because through broken English each one tried their best to communicate, tears in their eyes, impassioned tone in their cracking voices. What humbled me was the fact none of these refugees cared about how they would look as they struggled to communicate or the embarrassment of saying a word wrong, instead all of their energy and focus was on one thing, “DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.”

So what did this terrorist mob due for 8 hours? Well we sang Amazing Grace, the Star Spangled Banner, recited the pledge of allegiance and The Lord’s Prayer. I want to repeat myself for absolute clarity about one thing: we were surrounded by diversity. We had a family from American Samoa next to us; we had 4 African American girls from a local college in front of us; we had Latino Farmers for Trump out of Central Ca. to the left of us, and yet in these moments we all stood simply as Americans. I never heard one racial slur or derogatory comment. 3 million people shoulder-to-shoulder gets pretty uncomfortable yet no one pushed, yelled or cussed one another out. On top of this, anyone who saw Trump’s speech knows that he instructed the crowd to peacefully march to the Capitol for our voices to be peacefully heard. THIS is the truth. There was no rioting or destruction. Another interesting fact was that as the crowd transitioned to marching we were all asked to pick up one piece of trash to help keep the area clean. We watched as many patriots pulled garbage bags out of their backpacks and continued to clean up the areas we used with the reverence and honor our public spaces deserve.

As you can see from the pictures our group walked up to the steps of the Capitol, another thing not being mentioned by the news media is the fact that WE WERE ALLOWED to be there, police did not start to evacuate the area until about 3:45pm. One piece of information I would like to share was the cellular black out that happened in DC. Trump’s speech ended roughly at 1:45pm, by 2:15pm we were on the lawn of the Capitol. At 2:30 the tear gas canisters and flashbang grenades began and the “siege” happened between 2:45-3:30pm. During this 45 minute window all cellular access and GPS went down, TOTAL technological darkness. We were unable to livestream out of DC and unable to showcase the truth that the crowd had identified ANTIFA and BLM and were screaming at the police to stop the segment of individuals who were being destructive. I would like to also comment that my handheld Garmin GPS which had been linked with 5 satellites all day, lost signal during this same 45 minute period. It was during this time period our group decided it would be to our benefit to start leaving DC due to being unable to communicate with loved ones and individuals who had been tracking our movement (for our safety.) As we left the Mall, which is on Madison Avenue, it should be pointed out that approximately 15-20 police cars with police officers were staged in this area. What our group found interesting was how relaxed the officers were with many laughing outside their patrol cars and behaving in such a way that would not make one feel as if these officers were on “high alert” or that the Capitol was “under siege.”

Our trip out of DC was uneventful (thank God.) The Metro was PACKED with fellow patriots many again being very friendly; speaking about their trip to the march and a constant theme of, “Pray for our Country.” What blew our group away at the end of our travel was when we returned to our hotel for a quick shower and to hit the road only to watch as the drive-by media fired up the misinformation machine and started sharing deliberate lies. It was then as I sat on the end of my hotel bed that I knew this email had to be written. My friends and family we are beginning a new era in reporting where the information we consume will need to come first hand. We can no longer trust that the free press means the objective press and that is why I drove to DC. Because I wanted my eyes on this moment in history free from a desired narrative and instead to be moored to the actual lived experience.

I am attaching here some other videos you can view online that show what truly happened. Such as police moving barricades to allow people onto the rotunda and then again with Capitol police opening the doors to statutory hall (allowing patriots INTO the capitol building.) I apologize for the long email but again I feel as if we are moving into the need for written and oral history to be shared fervently with our loved ones and friends. This is the new way of reporting and the new way of staying informed.

Photos & Videos we took ourselves:

So from here we ask that you share this message with YOUR family and friends, allow for this information to lead to more enriched and clarified discussions. This is not our truth or THEIR truth, but THE TRUTH.


Leftist perversion of values

Bruce Hendry

This morning, I realized that everything is about to change. No matter how I vote, no matter what I say, lives are never going to be the same.

I have been confused by the hostility of family and friends. I look at people I have known all my life so hate-filled that they agree with opinions they would never express as their own. I think that I may well have entered the Twilight Zone.

You can't justify this insanity. We have become a nation that has lost its collective mind. We see other countries going Socialist and collapsing, but it seems like a great plan to us.

Somehow it’s un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America.

People who say there is no such thing as gender are demanding a female President.

Universities that advocate equality, discriminate against Asian-Americans in favor of African-Americans.

Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, and other people are not held responsible for what they are doing right now.

Criminals are caught-and-released to hurt more people, but stopping them is bad because it's a violation of THEIR rights.

People who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves.

After legislating gender, if a dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him.

It was cool for Joe Biden to "blackmail" the President of Ukraine, but it’s an impeachable offense if Donald Trump inquiries about it.

People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for their degrees.

Immigrants with tuberculosis and polio are welcome, but you’d better be able to prove your dog is vaccinated.

Irish doctors and German engineers who want to immigrate to the US must go through a rigorous vetting process, but any illiterate gang-bangers who jump the southern fence are welcomed.

$5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for “free” health care is not.

If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free.

And, pointing out all this hypocrisy somehow makes us "racists"!

Nothing makes sense anymore, no values, no morals, no civility and people are dying of a Chinese virus, but it is racist to refer to it as Chinese even though it began in China.

We are clearly living in an upside-down world where right is wrong and wrong is right, where moral is immoral and immoral is moral, where good is evil and evil is good, where killing murderers is wrong, but killing innocent babies is right.

Wake up America. The great unsinkable ship Titanic America has hit an iceberg, is taking on water and sinking fast.



Democrat Rep. Mikie Sherrill absurdly claims lawmakers led "reconnaissance" tours prior to Capitol attack (Fox News)

To (ahem) heal the nation, Joe Biden plans to "defeat the NRA" (Daily Wire)

Socialist AOC says country will heal with the "actual liberation of southern states" from GOP control (Fox News)

Biden pick for DOJ Civil Rights Division promoted racism and anti-Semitism at Harvard (Free Beacon)

Before becoming Boston's mayor, Biden's labor pick was embroiled in union extortion scandal (Free Beacon)

A lawyer for PBS resigned after being caught describing Trump as "close to Hitler" (AP)

YouTube suspends Trump's ability to upload content indefinitely (Fox News)

After banning Trump and suppressing American news, Twitter condemns Internet censorship ... in Uganda (Post Millennial)

Feds pursuing seditious conspiracy cases in "unprecedented" probe of Capitol riot (Free Beacon)

FBI internal memo warns of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitals (Fox News)

"This fight is inside the gates today": Pompeo warns lawmakers of the Chinese Communist Party (Breitbart)

Chinese COVID vaccine far less effective than initially reported (National Review)



Thursday, January 14, 2021

'No chance’: Plot to remove Donald Trump from office implodes

Donald Trump may have become first President in US history to be impeached twice but the Democrats will not be able to kick him out of office.

Shortly after the House of Representatives voted to impeach this morning, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted there’s “no chance” the forthcoming trial in his chamber could be wrapped up before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated -meaning Mr Trump will serve a full term.

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said in a public statement.

“The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency,” he continued.

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump issued a video statement after the vote that interestingly he didn’t mention impeachment. It showed a stark change in tone from his message to Americans before and during last week’s riots.

Last week, he addressed the protesters in that video saying, “We love you” and “You’re very special.” In his message today, he has attacked them.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for,” Mr Trump said in his new video. “No true supporters of mine could ever endorse political violence.

“No true supporter of mine could disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.

“If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement- you are attacking it. And you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it.”

The single article of impeachment, charging Mr Trump with “incitement of insurrection”, passed by a margin of 232-197.

Every Democrat voted yes. Ten Republicans joined with them, voting against their own party’s President.

If you’re interested, those 10 Republicans are: Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Peter Meijer, John Katko, Fred Upton, David Valadao, Tom Rice and Anthony Gonzalez.

The most significant name on that list is Ms Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, who is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House.


The purge has begun. Cancel culture is going to be worse than ever as the social tyranny rises

President Donald Trump has finally had his Twitter account banned permanently, which had more than 80 million followers.

He got his posting privileges suspended from Facebook yesterday. The account itself may not be too far behind.

The purge has begun. Cancel culture is going to be worse than ever. You either bend the knee, and renounce President Trump — or your days on social media or in official Washington, D.C. could be numbered.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) just had a book contract cancelled. He and his colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are being cut off by the GOP establishment and Republican donors, simply for fighting for election integrity in a process prescribed under law by Congress more than a century ago.

Parler, the social media alternative to Twitter, has been banned from the Google Play store barring it from Android devices

And there are a number of other accounts and cancellations occurring. It is a wholesale assault on the entire Republican Party. Not just Trump supporters.

Make no mistake. This is a bid for one-party rule.

In the fallout of the tragic storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where police were unjustly attacked, doors broken down, windows smashed, and offices robbed — resulting in the death of five individuals including a Capitol Hill police officer — we have entered a brave new world.

If you are alarmed, you should be. And it’s nothing you did. The overwhelming majority of you have never engaged in political violence once in your entire lives.

President Trump at his speech on Jan. 6 at the Save America Rally on the National Mall called for protesters to be peaceful: “We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

After the violence began, Trump on Twitter urged his followers to stop immediately: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

I cannot guarantee for how much longer you will see our content posted on major social media platforms.

This is a mortal threat to our republic and our two-party system, where some of the most prominent figures in the political opposition who would speak out against the Joe Biden administration are being censored by the largest companies in the world.

In April 2018, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted an article by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira that called our political discourse a “new civil war,” with Leyden and Teixeira writing, “America can’t afford more political paralysis. One side or the other must win. This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot. But it is a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

It called for “Democratic One-Party Rule” in the U.S. as a means of reconciling issues facing the country and ultimately implementing the progressive agenda. Dorsey called it a “great read.”

This is exactly what John Stuart Mill warned against in 1859 in On Liberty, the most compelling defense of free speech in human history, the philosopher warned how a tyranny of the majority could impose censorship that would be “more formidable” than even governmental censorship and that it could “enslav[e] the soul” with little room for escape.

Mill wrote, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

This is where we are. It is no longer hypothetical. The social tyranny is here.

So I am urging you to find alternatives. Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Alternatives to the Republican Party establishment that seems to think you are the problem.

And alternatives to violence. Please. The damage that was caused at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to our country and the Union may be irreparable.

The danger is that this purge will drive more and more people to darker and darker corners of the web. It will become itself a radicalizing element. They are driving you and millions of other Americans into a desperate situation. Submit or be cancelled.

And that, sadly, makes it more likely that the civil society will continue to collapse as individuals give up on believing that our system works at all.

This is dangerous. And it has to stop — before it is too late and we reach the point of no return. We are about to enter into an abyss for which there is no escape.


Liberal Reporter: 'The New...Authoritarian Liberal-left...Is Going to be Absolutely Ruthless'

Liberal reporter Michael Tracey probably saw this event coming from miles away. Months ago, he probably predicted it. Actually, he did—sort of. He said that Twitter’s glorifying violence protocol is arbitrary and can never be fairly enforced. This was the first wave of the social media giant censoring tweets from the president during the Minneapolis riots. Last night, Twitter finally followed through on something they’ve probably have been waiting to do for months: ban Donald Trump. After flagging and censoring his tweets, the storming of the Capitol Building was probably the last straw. Trump is done on Twitter.

Yet, Tracey is not popping champagne. If this company can do this to Trump, they can do it to anyone. For those who are cheering this, you have no leg to stand on when these tech giants start coming after you. Give it time. It’ll happen. Tracey went on a lengthy series of tweets calling out liberals for celebrating this event, while also warning of an increasingly authoritarian future to come.

“The most extreme, coordinated corporate censorship offensive in modern history and liberals/leftists are in a mindless celebratory stupor. Pathetic shillsm” he wrote. Oh, but when Tracey gets going, it’s a mountain of commentary that drives the ‘woke’ Left insane.

“Imagine thinking that the pattern of unaccountable corporations orchestrating increasingly extreme purges of political speech is a positive development for society...idiots,” he added.

“None of this is about ‘safety,’ it’s about purposely inflating a threat in order to assert political and cultural dominance.”

Earlier last night, he slammed Twitter’s decision to ban Trump calling it “absolute authoritarian lunacy.”

Finally, he said that this push could get state sponsorship, as the Biden administration will soon be ushered into the halls of power.

“The new corporate authoritarian liberal-left monoculture is going to be absolutely ruthless -- and in 12 days it is merging with the state. This only the beginning,” he warned.

We appear to have fallen off the slippery slope in the free speech wars. Dark times ahead? Be vigilant.



Transportation Secretary (and wife of Mitch McConnell) Elaine Chao resigns (Washington Examiner)

Senator James Inhofe says he's never seen Mike Pence so angry amid Trump calls to block election certification (The Hill)

U.S. loses 140,000 jobs, first monthly loss since spring (AP)

Trade deficit soars to 14-year high in November (Politico)

Porch pirate gets caught in the act, then gets his car stuck in the snow trying to escape (Not the Bee)

Nancy Pelosi says she spoke to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about protecting nuclear codes from Trump (Fox News)

Quasi-Democrat Joe Manchin on proposed round of $2,000 checks: "Absolutely not" (The Hill)

Marriot, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Commerce Bank suspend donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying Electoral College vote (Washington Examiner)

PGA strips Trump's Bedminster golf course of its 2022 championship (Daily Mail)

The day after permanently banning Trump for "inciting violence," Twitter allows "Hang Mike Pence" to trend (Not the Bee)

Pope Francis prays for Capitol violence victims — but not other victims of violence (Examiner)

Measure creating reparations committee advances at Illinois statehouse (Examiner)

Four dead following hourslong shooting spree in Chicago area (ABC News)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler assaulted by left-wing agitators while dining (Disrn)

New York is throwing away vaccines rather than distributing them competently (Reason)

Just 1 in 100,000 had severe allergic reaction to vaccine (Insurance Journal)

Study suggests Pfizer vaccine works against virus variant (AP)

Policy: Why ban of @realDonaldTrump proves Twitter is not "just a platform" (NY Post)



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Did Trump incite a violent demonstration at the Capitol?

He did not. Just one line of his January 6 speech scotches that claim:

"I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. "

So he did incite a demonstration but he wanted it to be peaceful. And it mostly was. It was just a few hotheads and hangers-on who messed up.

Below is the best than the Left can do to make something different out of Trump's speech. I have inserted some comments in italics to counter the false accusations

New York Times best-selling author, journalist and lawyer Seth Abramson dissected the President’s speech on January 6 and found numerous examples of incitement — some subtle, and others far more direct.

Abramson says Trump almost immediately hints at what is to come.

“Seconds into his speech, Trump says, ‘These people are not going to take it any longer. They’re not going to take it any longer … They came from all over our country. I just really want to see what they do’. It’s an astonishing admission he thinks something is going to happen,” Abramson writes.

Yes. He wanted to see them demonstrate but he said it would be their decision about what they did. It was not under his direction

He says Trump is very deliberate with his use of verb tenses. He stresses the urgency that the election is being “stolen”, not in general terms but very specifically by those counting ballots for the Georgia run-off at the US Capitol.

“So when Trump speaks in the present tense of the election being ‘stolen’ by Democrats and the media — it’s ‘what they’re doing’ — he means it literally: he’s telling the Save America March that he and they are imminently facing a ‘stolen election’ due to events at the Capitol.”

They were

Abramson argues that Trump “clearly sees the crowd as an army”.

“He crows about the size of the crowd, claiming it is ‘hundreds of thousands’ strong. That’s important for his ‘mens rea’ (mental state) as a criminal actor: he believes he’s commanding the actions of a massive force near the Capitol.

“The action Trump is demanding isn’t a protest-type action. It’s not a let-your-voice-be-heard action. It is explicitly an intervention — the ‘steal’ will be ‘stopped’ by the assembled army marching on the Capitol as Trump will shortly direct them. There’s no fuzz on this.”

He simply wanted a really big demonstration

The Harvard Law School graduate and author of Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America says the “strangest line in (Trump’s) speech) involves a call for “military, Secret Service, police, law enforcement” to “come up please”.

Trump says: “If those tens of thousands of people would be allowed — the military, the Secret Service, the police, law enforcement, you’re doing a great job — but I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them come up please?”

Abramson says the line is “beyond a doubt the strangest line in the speech”.

“When he says ‘come up here with us’ he couldn’t be referring to the stage he’s standing on, as he says he’s referring to ‘tens of thousands’ of military people and cops. So where does he want them to ‘come up’ to?

“The obvious answer — indeed, the only answer — is that, as he’s about to reveal, he is well aware (and was pre-speech) that the Save America March he paid for is a march on the Capitol to ‘stop’ the certification, and that ‘we’/‘us’ will be making that march. And therefore he is asking ‘the military, the Secret Service, the police, [and] law enforcement’ (his words) to march with ‘us’ to the Capitol.”

Rubbish. If you read the speech carefully, you will see that Trump was referring to the big crowd in front of him, including many law-enforcement personnel. He was asking them to come up towards the front of the crowd

Abramson’s analysis ends with this: “America must know what this man did/said. He incited insurrection. Just as the article of impeachment says.”

Trump, of course, denies he did anything of the sort. He distanced himself from such accusations in a statement through his spokeswoman, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

“Donald Trump condemns in the strongest possible terms” the violence, she said Thursday.

“Let me be clear: The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.

“We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms.”

The Babylon Bee has a good satirical comment on the false accusations


The All-Out Assault on Conservative Thought Has Just Begun

After the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and others renewed their demands for the suppression of conservative speech on social media. After Trump’s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Big Tech companies clamped down on President Donald Trump and many of his supporters. Incoming President Joe Biden has said he plans to pass a law against domestic terrorism.

While conservatives rightly denounced the violence this week, this response bodes ill for conservative speech not just on social media, but in the public square and even in private organizations.

In the aftermath of the Capitol riots, Twitter suspended President Donald Trump’s account for the first time and Facebook permanently banned the president. After Trump deleted the tweets Twitter had flagged and had his account restored, Twitter proceeded to ban him entirely on Friday, and then it banned the official President of the United States (POTUS) account.

Facebook throttled the great Rush Limbaugh, notifying him that his “Page has reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news.” Limbaugh left Twitter in protest after the platform banned Trump. Apple and Google attacked Parler, claiming that the new haven for conservatives had allowed people to plan the violence of the Capitol riots on its platform.

House Democrats filed articles of impeachment that explicitly blame President Trump for the Capitol riots, even though he never told his supporters to invade the Capitol. While the president’s exaggerated rhetoric inflamed the rioters, Democrats repeatedly did the same thing this summer. Before and after Black Lives Matter protests devolved into destructive and deadly riots, Democratic officials repeatedly claimed America suffers from “systemic racism” and institutionalized “white supremacy.”

Columbus’ Proposed Police Witch Hunt Will Send Chills Down Your Spine
Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

This week, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Yet he refused to speak in those terms when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Instead, he condemned Trump for holding up a Bible at a church — without mentioning the fact that that very church had been set on fire the night before.

Despite this hypocrisy, Biden’s speech on Thursday proved instructive. Biden used the Capitol riots to condemn Trump’s entire presidency, accusing Trump of having “unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset.” Biden twisted Trump’s actions into an attack on “democracy.” He claimed Trump’s originalist judges were a ploy to undermine impartial justice — when they were truly the exact opposite. Biden claimed Trump’s complaints about the Obama administration spying on his campaign were merely an “attack” on America’s “intelligence services.” Biden said Trump’s complaints about media bias constituted an attack on the “free press,” when the Obama administration actually attacked the free press.

Despite the fact that leftist violence has wracked American cities for years (remember Ferguson and the shooting of police officers in Dallas in 2016?), Biden seized on the Capitol riots as evidence that everything the Right had been saying the past four years was a blatant and destructive lie.

This reminded me of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-noble civil rights organization that has become a far-left smear factory. The SPLC weaponizes its history suing white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy and monitoring them through its Klanwatch program to silence conservative thought. It brands mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the KKK on a “hate map.” This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.

The Trump administration has worked with conservative organizations the SPLC falsely smears as “hate groups,” and the SPLC has made hay of this fact. Its latest “hate group” report — published last March — mentioned Trump no fewer than 66 times. Yet the SPLC carried water for antifa during the riots this summer.

The SPLC has repeatedly pressured Big Tech to clamp down on conservative “hate groups,” suggesting this is the right way to fight white supremacist terrorism. Amazon has excluded mainstream conservative Christian nonprofits from its charity program, Amazon Smile.

After Charlottesville, the SPLC raked in cash with big donations from Apple and JPMorgan. CNN even shared the SPLC “hate map” on its website and Twitter account, effectively endorsing the false accusations.

Not surprisingly, the SPLC has already seized the moment after the Capitol riots.

“One of the powerful lessons we must take away from this week’s coup attempt by President Trump and his supporters is that 2021 is not a time for half measures in the fight against hate and extremism,” Margaret Huang, the SPLC’s president and CEO, said in a statement on Friday. “This violence is bolstered by the infrastructure of white nationalist movements that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been tracking and fighting for decades.”

She warned that the Capitol riots will become “a recruitment tool for white nationalist movements” and “hate groups.” She claimed that “the violence in Washington was predictable and preventable,” citing the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” — specifically the increase in the number of white nationalist hate groups. (Since the SPLC does not explain how large specific “hate groups” are, the number of such “groups” is arguably meaningless. Some “hate groups” consist of merely one person.)

Prominent leftists are likely to celebrate the SPLC as the harbinger of this violence, and the SPLC does do some important work monitoring white nationalists. Unfortunately, the group also smears conservative and Christian groups because they defend biblical sexuality, oppose illegal immigration, and warn about the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. Even fellow liberals have condemned the SPLC’s “anti-LGBT hate group” accusation against Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian law firm that has won multiple Supreme Court cases.

The SPLC also has skeletons in its closet. In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, had its president step down, and had a prominent member of the board distance herself. The scandal broke out due to accusations of (decades-old) racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Amid the scandal, former employees came forward to expose the “con” of exaggerating hate to bilk donors.

Despite all this, the SPLC still enjoys considerable sway among Big Tech, corporate America, the legacy media, and the Democratic Party. When Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-Mich.) announced a new “hate crimes” unit, she specifically cited the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” in the state. Kamala Harris, soon to become vice president, has repeatedly cited the SPLC in attacking Trump’s judicial and administration nominees.

This makes it all the more ominous that Biden has said he plans to prioritize passing a law against domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism is indeed a serious problem in America, but Biden’s egregious and blatant double standard on the Capitol riots and antifa, along with his party’s growing alliance with the SPLC, suggests he may use such a law to silence conservative dissent while going soft on far-left rioters.

Conservative Christians should pay close attention to this threat. Biden, like the SPLC, has long championed LGBT activism, and in 2018 at an LGBT activist group, he attacked people who have “tried to define family” in the U.S. as “the dregs of society.” At the CNN LGBT town hall in October 2019, Biden called for a kind of terror watchlist to monitor organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and transgender identity. Biden firmly supports the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people. While Americans do not support discrimination, laws like this have been weaponized to punish Christians for refusing to celebrate same-sex weddings.

Buckle up, conservatives. The Biden administration represents a serious threat to conservative thought in the public square, and now Democrats have both houses of Congress to ram their agenda through.



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Are the covid vaccines safe and effective?

Sebastian Rushworth M.D. writes below. He likes the Moderna vaccine best so I reproduce below just that part of his article

Let’s move on to the final trial, of the Moderna vaccine. I’m going to run through this one a little bit more quickly, because in many respects it is similar to the previous two trials. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine at the end of December. The technology used for this vaccine is identical to the technology used for the Pfizer vaccine, so it’s reasonable to expect that the results would be similar. This was a randomized controlled trial involving 30,000 participants, who were recruited from a large number of sites across the United States. The study was primarily funded by the US government and by Moderna. Half the participants received two doses of the Moderna covid vaccine one month apart, and half received two doses of a placebo injection (consisting of saline). The median length of follow-up after receiving the second dose was two months.

As with the previous two trials, the primary objective of the study was to see if there was a reduction in cases of covid-19, which in this study was defined as at least two symptoms suggestive of covid-19 plus a positive covid PCR test.

The study included adults over the age of 18. As with the previous studies, participants had to be healthy or “stable” in terms of any underlying chronic conditions. The study excluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with allergies, and people who were immunosuppressed. The average BMI was 29. Only 5% of participants were over the age of 75, so as with the other two studies the proportion of participants in the oldest category was low. 5% had chronic lung disease. 5% had significant cardiac disease. 7% were obese. And 10% had diabetes.

Ok, so what were the results?

Among those who had received the placebo injections, 1,3% developed covid. Among those who had received the vaccine, 0,07% developed covid. That represents a 94% reduction in cases, and it is highly statistically significant. If we look at those over 65 (average age 70), then we see an 86% reduction in cases, so the vaccine seems to be highly effective even for older people (although unfortunately no data is provided for the very oldest people, aged 80+).

The results are even more impressive if we look only at people with severe covid. Among those getting the placebo, there were 30 cases. Among those getting the vaccine, not a single person developed a severe case of covid. So, just as with the previous two vaccines, the Moderna vaccine appears to be highly effective against covid-19.

What about safety?

1,0% of participants in the placebo group experienced a serious adverse event and 1,0% of participants in the vaccine group experienced a serious adverse event. Ideally we would like to see fewer serious adverse events in the vaccine group, but there weren’t enough cases of severe covid-19 for the vaccine to have any noticeable positive effect on the overall number.

If we look through the list of serious adverse events (yes, unlike Pfizer, Moderna actually provided this information), we see that there is nothing that could reasonably be thought to have been caused by the vaccine (unlike the transverse myelitis seen in the Astra-Zeneca study), and there is nothing that sticks out as being more common in the vaccine group than in the placebo group.

Overall, the Moderna vaccine does appear to be both effective and safe. Would I be willing to take it? Yes, I would, actually. There is a strong signal of benefit, and zero signal of harm. Considering that there were 15,000 people in the vaccine group, any serious side effects that can happen as a result of the vaccine are likely to be very rare (in those groups that were included in the study).

Ok, let’s wrap up. So all three vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing covid-19, although both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are clearly more effective than the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. In terms of safety, I have significant concerns about the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, considering that there is a signal suggesting that it increases your risk of developing transverse myelitis by a hundredfold or more. Future research will have to show whether that is a real risk or not. I also have concerns about the Pfizer vaccine, since there was a 60% increase in severe adverse events among those taking the vaccine, an issue that Pfizer hasn’t bothered to address at all, and I am also concerned about the fact that Pfizer does not provide a detailed breakdown of adverse events, which makes it impossible to see if there is anything in there that we should be worried about. The Moderna vaccine does appear to be safe however, based on the data available up to now.


Angela Merkel calls Trump's permanent Twitter ban 'problematic' and says freedom of opinion is a fundamental right

German chancellor Angela Merkel regards Donald Trump's permanent ban from Twitter as 'problematic' because it gives too much power to social media bosses, her spokesman said today.

Trump was permanently booted off the platform on Friday because of the 'risk of further incitement of violence' after his supporters stormed the US Capitol while Congress was certifying his election defeat.

Merkel - a longstanding critic of Trump - said she was 'furious and saddened' by the rampage, but her spokesman Steffen Seibert said today that 'the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked'.

'The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance,' he said.

'This fundamental right can be interfered with, but through the law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms.'

While tech giants were right not to 'stand back' and were justified in red-flagging Trump's tweets, banning his account altogether was a step too far, he said.

He added that social media bosses 'bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence'.

France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire also voiced doubts about Trump's ban today, telling France Inter radio that it should not be for the 'digital oligarchy' to regulate itself.

Echoing Merkel's spokesman, Le Maire said that regulatory decisions should be taken by elected governments rather than by American corporate bosses.

Merkel, an understated multilateralist who has little in common with the brash Trump, has been critical of the US president on numerous occasions during his four years in office - including when she condemned the Capitol riots last week.

But both leaders have clashed with social media giants during their terms in office - with Germany bringing in a new law in 2018 to force them to remove hate speech.

Like several European countries, privacy-conscious Germany has also been at loggerheads with US tech firms over data protection and tax payments.

Merkel herself does not have a Twitter account, although Seibert does and many German government ministers do.

Though Twitter hasn't issued any further statements after its banning of Trump , it appears to be conducting a mass purge of any accounts connected with the 'QAnon' conspiracy theory, banning Trump loyalists Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, and thousands of others.

The apparent effect has been to massively shrink the follower counts of high-profile conservative figures and Trump allies.

In a video message on Facebook, Don Jr claimed that he had lost 100,000 Twitter followers in the past day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted an image of an analytical tool showing key elected Democrats gaining tens of thousands of followers, while key Republicans were losing them at the same rate.

'This is how you create an echo chamber...' Pompeo wrote.

In his tweets on Saturday, Don Jr pointed out that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who tweeted last year calling for 'the elimination of the Zionist regime' through 'firm, armed resistance,' still has multiple official Twitter accounts


Parler Will 'Be Down Longer Than Expected': Difficulty finding a new host

Parler, which emerged as a Twitter alternative for conservatives, officially went offline on Monday after Amazon Web Services refused to host the site any longer. Following the Capitol riots on Wednesday, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, claiming the site had refused to take down posts inciting violence. On Saturday, Amazon announced it would follow suit after employees pressured the company to remove Parler.

Parler saved its data and prepared to switch to a different provider, but on Monday, Parler CEO John Matze announced the process would take longer than expected.

“I wanted to send everyone on Parler an update,” Matze posted. “WE will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions—we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s, and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”

“And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us,” Matze added. “We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”

“Parler is my final stand on the internet,” the CEO concluded. “I won’t be making an account on any social. Parler is my home.”

The All-Out Assault on Conservative Thought Has Just Begun
When conservatives complained about Twitter and Facebook throttling conservative speech, leftists encouraged those on the Right to develop their own social media platforms. Yet when conservatives started flocking to Parler, the established Big Tech companies colluded to destroy this alternative.

Some posts on Parler reportedly encouraged violence before the Capitol riots, but posts on Facebook and Twitter encouraged violence against the police before and during the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer.

Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

On Thursday, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Tellingly, Biden refused to use such language when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Despite the fact that leftist violence has wracked American cities for years (remember Ferguson and the shooting of police officers in Dallas in 2016?), Biden seized on the Capitol riots as evidence that everything the Right had been saying the past four years was a blatant and destructive lie.

Big Tech companies appear to have applied this same double standard on political violence — and those who were paying attention could have predicted this back in 2017.

In September 2017, after the Charlottesville riots, the credit card processing company Vanco Payment Solutions canceled its contract with the small Catholic nonprofit The Ruth Institute (RI), citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). RI aims to help victims of the Sexual Revolution, but the SPLC placed this small conservative Christian nonprofit on a list with the Ku Klux Klan because RI cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered.”

To conservatives who are familiar with the SPLC, this attack would not come as a surprise. This once-noble civil rights organization has become a far-left smear factory, weaponizing its history of suing white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy and monitoring them through its Klanwatch program to silence conservative thought. Using the modern version of the Klanwatch program, the SPLC brands mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the KKK on a “hate map.” This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.

Big Tech, the legacy media, Democrats, and corporate America have used the SPLC “hate group” list to cancel mainstream conservative groups.

The SPLC is not a reliable arbiter of hate and it has many skeletons in its closet. In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, had its president step down, and had a prominent member of the board distance herself. The scandal broke out due to accusations of (decades-old) racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Amid the scandal, former employees came forward to expose the “con” of exaggerating hate to bilk donors. I wrote a book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explaining the many reasons why this far-left smear factory should not be trusted.

Parler’s disappearance from the internet reminds me very much of the SPLC’s nefarious efforts to silence conservative nonprofits. It seems the SPLC’s cancel culture has gone mainstream. With Parler gone, conservatives are flocking to Gab, MeWe, and other alternatives. What happens when Big Tech turns on those, too?